740.5/3–2254: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Dillon) to the Department of State 1


3476. Anti-EDC conference of representatives from EDC countries and UK held Paris March 20 and 21. Reported that about 200 attended.

In addition to French representatives from almost all parties with exception Socialists (reported Embdesp 2239, March 22) representatives from other countries who took active part reportedly included: Italy—Pietro Nenni, Ricordo Lombardi, Terracini; UK—Archibald McDougall, Hughes Delargy, Jennie Lee, Bedford, William Snow; Belgium—Henri Roark; Federal Republic—Helen Wessel, Herbert Mochalski, Gustav Heinemann, Rosel Ihellebrand.

Edouard Herriot, honorary President of Conference, did not attend but sent message hoping that “union of all French might come about on formula which would save national sovereignty of our country and spare it from risks of new catastrophe which illusory guarantees of EDC treaty in present form would not prevent”.

Fellow-traveling Andre Denis was entrusted with advancing proposal that USSR develop its project on European collective security as alternative to EDC. Le Monde tonight headlights this as central theme of conference, which is also confirmed in final motion.

Labor MP Hugh Delargy reported to have warned against putting hopes in “vague gestures” which British Government might make “perhaps on eve of Assembly debate”. Stated Labor Party which “constitutes one half of House and which will undoubtedly soon return to power” had resigned itself to German rearmament by majority of only two votes and was officially opposed to two years military service. “If military service reduced, how could we undertake new commitments in Europe?—day that Germany rearmed, it will be Germans and no one else who will decide in which direction their army will march”.

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Daladier developed argument (somewhat in contrast to statements he has made in past solely for benefit French audiences) based on contention that EDC was obstacle to building necessary Franco-German rapprochement. Moreover he ridiculed Western position at Berlin Conference stating Russian people after great sufferings during war could hardly be expected accept German reunification, elections and “withdrawal 300 kilometers to East without being offered something in exchange”.

Two days discussions by curious mixture of persons holding widely divergent views on every issue with exception EDC ended with unanimous adoption of catch-all motion condemning EDC “which would provoke climate throughout world of increasing tension which could result in war”. It reportedly demanded “reopening Berlin negotiations with view to solving various international problems including peaceful reunification of Germany, free elections, conclusion German and Austrian peace treaties, renewal normal commercial and cultural relations between East and West, as well as organization of system of collective security and disarmament based on association of European states, respecting UN Charter and treaties in force, excluding any preponderance etc.”.

Conference given extensive publicity by Communist Humanité and was also well covered by left wing and neutralist papers. Gratuitous publicity resulted from police’s maladroit handling of Nenni case. Latter reached Paris without difficulty March 12 but at 6:30 a.m. March 13 police ordered him to leave country on basis 1951 order against him. Following démarche by members of conference and protestation of Charles Lussy, President Socialist Deputy group Assembly, order was annulled and Nenni permitted to return Paris evening March 13 and take part in conference. Humanité also reports that French Government refused visas to five representatives from Eastern German Government.

  1. Repeated to Brussels, Moscow, The Hague, Rome, London, Luxembourg, and Bonn.
  2. Ante, p. 883.